Mediacom Communications has filed a suit against Sinclair Broadcast Group, accusing Sinclair of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Mediacom claims Sinclair would consent to let the cable MSO carry the broadcaster’s stations in some markets, including Des Moines, Iowa, and Mobile, Ala., but only if Mediacom also paid for carriage of Sinclair stations in more than a dozen other markets.
The suit was filed in the Federal Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
The ultimate result of Sinclair’s demands, Mediacom said, would be to increase the price of cable television to consumers by millions of dollars.
“Throughout our retransmission consent negotiations, Sinclair has insisted that all of its stations in our footprint be bundled in a single package without consideration to the differences in the markets of the various stations. We believe this all-or-nothing scheme violates antitrust law,” said Rocco B. Commisso, Mediacom’s chairman and CEO, in a statement.
“We believe that Sinclair is holding our customers hostage in the Des Moines market in exchange for carriage of other stations in markets half a continent away. It is not fair to our customers who ultimately bear these costs, and we have decided to draw the line by asking a federal court to stop these practices by Sinclair,” Commisso added.